Club Championships 2021: #TheGame Winners and Breakdown, Presented by Friction Gloves

Who took home the prizes and which picks were most popular?

Ultiworld’s Club Championship #thegame is back and presented by Friction Gloves! This year’s edition was another puzzle of picks and prediction. But an early run by our eventual winner kept them in front of most of the contest. Some massive surprises in the final standings of the tournament really shook up the results this year.

Here are the full final standings.

The Winners

Final Standings Tweet

Five semifinalists! The victor, Jono K., somehow managed to meet the seeding cap while only picking teams that made it to Saturday. Truly remarkable. It’s all here for Jono K.: the lowest seeded championship team (no. 3 Ring of Fire) and all five of the lowest seeded teams to reach the semifinals. Hitting on both of the surprise mixed division’s semifinalists really took this lineup to the finish line.

In a fascinating turn, our second place finisher, Season K., actually went for the 42-bonus, and fell just five overall points short of tying for first. They managed this by pairing no. 14 Love Tractor and no. 15 Tabby Rosa, who nabbed a respectable 50 points between them, with two champions (Ring and no. 1 Fury) and a finalist (no. 9 PoNY).

In third place, Nate H. combined Love Tractor with four finalists: Fury, no. 3 Brute Squad, PoNY, and Hybrid. Interesting strategy to try to corner the market in the women’s division, while counting on the signature chaos of the mixed division.

Jono K. wins a pair of Friction Gloves, an Ultiworld Greatest Bag, additional Friction and Ultiworld merch, and a free month of Full Subscription from Ultiworld.

Season K. wins a pair of Friction Gloves and a free month of Full Subscription from Ultiworld.

Nate H. wins a free month of Full Subscription from Ultiworld.

Selection Stats

Top 5 Men’s Teams

  1. No. 9 PoNY (40.6%)
  2. No. 11 Condors (22.2%)
  3. No. 1 Sockeye (21.5%)
  4. No. 3 Ring of Fire (19.5%)
  5. No. 8 Rhino (14.2%)

More than two out of every five entries had PoNY in it, making selecting them step one to having success this year. They put up 75 points and all of the top five finishers picked them. For context, the most popular team in 2019 was Brute Squad, at 25.7%, and this obviously blows that out of the water. Ring of Fire turned out to also be a pretty popular pick, as did Condors. One of those worked out, but dang, Condors backers had to feel good when they come out of the gate with a 15-9 win over Machine. They did not score any more points for you after that.

Top 5 Mixed Teams

  1. No. 6 Space Heater (45.3%)
  2. No. 10 Sprocket (14.8%)
  3. No. 5 AMP (14.1%)
  4. No. 14 Polar Bears (12.9%)
  5. No. 7 Lawless (12.5%)

If you wanted fruitful lower seeds, the mixed division was the place to do it. Not a single top four seed was popular! I knew Space Heater would be. But not only did they dominate the selection pie charts; they also bombed out in a prequarters shocker and earned just 20 points. There’s a whole clump of top 25 finishers in #thegame leaderboards with great lineups sunk by this landmine. Meanwhile, Hybrid (9.2%) and NOISE (5.5%) went under the radar. Love Tractor was the sixth most popular pick.

Top 5 Women’s Teams

  1. No. 16 Parcha (33.7%)
  2. No. 3 Brute Squad (28.3%)
  3. No. 1 Fury (26.3%)
  4. No. 7 Schwa (9.5%)
  5. No. 2 Molly Brown (8%)

Two teams in this top five rewarded that faith with zero total points. The other three all reached semifinals and scored 55 or more. Neither Parcha nor Schwa were complete lineup killers — the top player with Parcha finished finished 12th and the 32nd player had Schwa — but the opportunity cost was pretty tough to swallow. The Pittsburgh team was simply too tempting for a lot of folks, although I remained skeptical because of how challenging their pool looked. The optimal strategy continued to be aiming for the top. Only 6.5% of entrants selected no. 4 Phoenix and only 1.9% chose Tabby Rosa and their quarterfinal run.

Game Analysis

I’m not entirely sure what to make of this year’s numbers. The popular picks were selected at outrageously high rates. I wonder why people so strongly gravitated to the same teams this year. That really and truly defined #thegame this time around: did you pick PoNY and did you avoid Space Heater and Parcha? Three teams that way outpaced the field and only one of those gave you an exciting return.

It is, however, exciting to see that the bonus really helped propel our second place finisher. Finding the right values for the bonus, both in the restriction and the points awarded, is tricky.

The Perfect Lineup

Our winner came very close to the optimal selections with no. 3 Ring of Fire, no. 4 Phoenix, no. 9 Hybrid, no 9. PoNY, and no. 12 NOISE. They need another champion, so switching NOISE to no. 14 Love Tractor and Phoenix to no. 1 Fury would net 360 points, just 10 more points than Jono K. secured. But, as was pointed out in our Discord,1 370 is achievable: Get the big three of Hybrid, PoNY, and NOISE, and then grab no. 3 Brute Squad and Ring of Fire. Even with just one champion, that lineup nets 370 points.

Feedback Welcome!

Did you play? Did you not play? Why or why not? What rules would be fun to play with? What tweaks can be made?

We want #thegame to be fun and have different strategies be viable without being too complicated for lots of people to enter. You contact me by emailing Keith@Ultiworld.com or on Twitter @FullFieldHammer.


  1. Available for our subscribers! Thanks Rasmus. 

  1. Keith Raynor
    Keith Raynor

    Keith Raynor is a Senior Editor and the Business Development Manager at Ultiworld. He co-hosts our Deep Look podcast and does play-by-play and color commentary. He coaches UConn Rise, the college's women's team. You can reach him by email (keith@ultiworld.com) or on Twitter (@FullFieldHammer).

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